Instant Analysis: the good and the bad as the Oregon Ducks thump Colorado

Bri Amaranthus
NBC Sports Northwest

EUGENE - No. 13 Oregon crushed Colorado thanks to exciting and explosive offensive play in front of a sell out crowd of 50,529 fans and students.

The win improves the Ducks to 3-0 in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 and 11-1 under Coach Mario Cristobal at Autzen Stadium. Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) remains atop the North Division with zero conference losses.

Here are the top three takeaways from the contest. Starting with the concerning…

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

1. Injuries to star Ducks

Late in the first quarter, senior tight end Jacob Breeland went down with an injury and did not return to the game.

Breeland, the Ducks' leading receiver, had a strong start to the game before the injury: three receptions for 53 yards and Oregon's first touchdown of the game. He leads the nation among tight ends with six touchdowns this season.

Late in the second quarter, senior linebacker Troy Dye and sophomore safety Jevon Holland experienced an unfortunate collision. It appeared Holland's calf hit Dye's helmet as both players dove for the runner. Both Ducks were slow to get up and attended to by medical staff.

Dye walked off the field to the injury tent and returned to the game a few plays later. Holland was helped to a chair on the sideline before leaving the stadium on a cart. Holland returned to the sideline in the third quarter in a boot. 

Holland is Oregon's second leading tackler, behind Dye, with 24 tackles and three interceptions this season. He has eight career interceptions, the most by an active Oregon player. Holland is also averaging 24.4 yards per punt return, the highest in the nation.

2. Justin Herbert let it fly

Back to the good news, with an astounding amount of NFL scouts present, Herbert put on a show. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound quarterback accurately catapulted the ball downfield to hit four different receivers for 20-plus yard plays. He attempted 28 passes in the first half alone.

A major highlight came in the second quarter when Herbert connected with true freshman Mycah Pittman on a 39-yard reception to put the Ducks in red zone right before halftime. The stunning pass set up a last second Jaylon Redd 2-yard rushing touchdown before the half ended.

Not to be overlooked, Herbert extended the nation's longest touchdown pass streak to 34 straight games.

3. Running game rolling

This season, the Ducks have been so-close-yet-so-far to breaking open the running game. Against Colorado, Oregon's running backs finally established consistent success: averaging 5.3 yards per carry in the first half. Sophomore CJ Verdell marched the Ducks down the field with long runs and scorching speed, achieving his first 100-plus rushing yard game of the season. Sophomore Cyrus Habibi-Likio, red-zone warrior, had success punching it into the end zone several times. Surprisingly, sophomore Travis Dye did not have any carries in the first half.

--

By the way, against the best quarterback the Duck defense has faced so far this season, the Ducks totaled four interceptions, two by Verone McKinley III. A stingy defense paired with an explosive Oregon offense, combined for a blowout. Next up, Washington Huskies in Seattle.  More to come with quotes and videos from Coach Mario Cristobal and Ducks players.

Instant Analysis: the good and the bad as the Oregon Ducks thump Colorado originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

What to Read Next